River disaster averted
By ADRIAN MILLER
A Catastrophe was averted on Tuesday when Maclean emergency personnel prevented a diesel spill from entering the Clarence River after a semi-trailer crashed near the Shark Creek bridge.
About 1000 litres of diesel were spilt after the truck's fuel tanks ruptured in the crash.
Grafton police said yesterday the truck, which was carrying potting mix and fertilisers, was travelling south on the Pacific Highway just after 5pm when the driver failed to negotiate a sweeping left-hand bend.
Police said the driver felt the back of the prime-mover slide to the right as he went around the corner, before he over-corrected, causing the trailer to jack-knife.
The fuel tanks ruptured, with the diesel pouring into a roadside drain which feeds into the Clarence River, police said.
A silver Ford Falcon travelling north was forced off the road and into a ditch in the crash.
The truck driver was uninjured, as were the occupants of the Ford. The highway was blocked in both directions and was reopened at 10pm.
Police, ambulance crews, Maclean Fire Brigade, Gulmarrad RFS, Maclean SES and members of the RTA were called to the scene to help with the mop up.
The Maclean Fire Brigade captain, Col Bernard, said the quick actions of the emergency services prevented lasting environmental damage to the area.
"We contained the spill using HAZMAT booms and the RTA was called in to help mop up the diesel on the road using Sphag Sorb," he said.
"Because of the slow movement of the tide we were able to block it off and contain it in a very small area.
"So with the use of the boom and absorbant material that we carry on the truck we were able to keep the effect on the environment to a minimum."
Grafton police said investigations were continuing into the cause of the crash.